“Tadpoles! Tadpoles is a winner!”
For years, various imitators have attempted to produce fake versions of Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts, as featured on NBC Television's Saturday Night Live with Regis and Kathy Pee-Pee. Few of these imitators have achieved a significant degree of success, and in many cases, the authors of such imitations are caught, tried, and convicted of various intellectual property violations, from plagiarism to forgery to outright petty theft. The penalties for these crimes have, in some cases, been unusually severe. In one case, a man was sentenced to two years as a Wikipedian, though a more compassionate judge later mercifully commuted this sentence on appeal, whereafter the man was hanged.
A mysterious and perplexing figure, Handey's current whereabouts are unknown to all but a few tax attorneys and the owners of a mail-order cheesecake factory in Omaha, Nebraska. It is believed that Handey continues to write Deep Thoughts, occasionally posting them on various websites under assumed names. Some have suggested that Handey deliberately does this to "muddy the waters," in effect making it less attractive for "fake" Deep Thinkers to profit from his comedic formula.
Nevertheless, a sampling of suspected "Handeyworks," most of which are clearly forgeries, is provided here purely for the purpose of historical reference. Since the provenance of these Deep Thoughts is disputed anyway, you should feel no hesitation to add your own.
- I think a good way to get free cheese would be to suddenly jump up in a crowded movie theatre and yell really loudly, "Hey, could somebody give me some free cheese?" That way, they'd probably want to give you as much as they could, just to shut you up. You'd have to be careful though, in case they decided to kill you instead.
- If Abraham Lincoln had sneezed one split-second before John Wilkes Booth shot him, he would have had to say "Bless You" first.
- The First Amendment doesn't necessarily give you have the right to stand up in a crowded movie theatre and yell that you're Sharon Stone's boyfriend, she's with you now, and you're going to boink her later. At least that's what the judge told me afterwards.
- When we were kids, we used to go to the river with some of those old inflatable inner-tubes that they used to put in tires, and we'd just float around for hours and hours, until finally it got dark and they had to send helicopters to pick us up. Our parents just seemed relieved when we got back the first time, but it really wasn't until the fourth or fifth time that they finally told us that the helicopter pickup wasn't just a regular free public-service thing they did. I mean, come on, Mom and Dad! You can't expect us to just know these things if you don't tell us!
- I once got turned down for a date to my senior prom by a girl I really liked. But right afterwards, a meteor fell down out of the sky onto the school, leaving only a smoking, charred ruin, so it all worked out.
- If Superman owned a toaster, I bet it would be a really, really big, heavy, powerful toaster, one that could perfectly toast hundreds of slices of bread at once, without even working up a sweat.
- I believe in moderation in all things. For example, some people fear change, while others fear stagnation. But as a moderate, I'm sort of in-between, because I just fear everything.
- Just for fun, Old Uncle Joe once raised a huge army, took over the entire planet, mercilessly drove all his enemies before him, and ruled with an iron fist for over a thousand years. Then, he made one of his minions invent a time machine and went back and undid it all, so no one ever knew it had happened, except us kids, because he told us. We all thought he was a little crazy, but I guess a thousand years of ruling a planet will do that to a person.
- I think a funny thing to say, when the check-out clerk at the grocery store asks you if you want paper or plastic, is "cold, hard steel." Then you just stand there, acting like you don't know what's going on, while the clerk and the bagger go off looking for a steel bag. If someone behind you line gives you a dirty look for holding everything up, you just say, "Hey, like, they asked?"
- My kid asked me, "Dad, where do babies come from?" So I told him all about the baby factory, and how it was hard, dangerous work, and how the mean capitalist bosses made people work in terrible conditions with low pay and no benefits, and also how the workers had to go on strike all the time to protest their poor working conditions, only to find themselves out on the street when their jobs were outsourced to the Far East. He seemed fairly satisfied with that answer, until I told him about how most of those factories in the Far East were actually dissident slave-labor camps.
More Deep Thoughts...
- When I got my first computer, the first thing I did with it was write a letter to my publisher, thanking him for sending me the computer. It was hard at first, dipping that big CPU tower in one of Magda's big mixing bowls which I'd filled with ink, and then trying to write with it. But once I'd finished, it was a great feeling to know I'd finally arrived in the modern era!
- The circus clown was very sad, because the children had all stayed at home that night, and the big top had been cancelled. And so, selflessly hoping to do what little he could to bring joy and laughter into the children's lives, he wandered through the nearby neighborhoods, waving at the children from just outside of their bedroom windows, exactly as he had done the previous three nights.
- Here's a cool idea for suicide bombers: Just before you're about to detonate yourself, start clutching at your stomach and say, "Man oh man, I've been eating way too much junk food lately!" And then, kaboom!
- You know that scary three-headed dog, Cerberus, the one that guards the gates of Hell? I wonder what they do when it's time to take him to the veterinarian to be de-wormed, because from the looks of him, I'll bet he'd be a real handful.
- If you're a police officer, I think it would be funny if, when Jack the Ripper walked up to your desk and turned himself in, to turn on the ceiling fan.
- When BetaMax VCR's first came out, I showed up at the electronics store bright and early, and I was the first person to buy one. And when the first VHS machines hit the market a few months later, it was the same thing - there I was, first in line! Same with those big laserdisc machines, and DVD players - I made sure I got there on the first day and bought the very first one. What's more, to this very day, I keep all of those machines in perfect working order — just in case I ever decide to buy a TV.
- It would have been fun to live in Transylvania back in the 1880's, because you could have seen all those monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, and the Mummy for free, instead of having to shell out 9 bucks at the movie theatre every time. I mean, what a gyp!
- If I had a million dollars, the first thing I'd do is go out and buy myself a great big triple-scoop ice cream cone. I wouldn't actually eat the ice cream because I'm lactose-intolerant and it would make me double over in excruciating pain, but just think, there I'd be — standing there with that big ice cream cone, and a million dollars.
Deeper and Thoughtier...
- It's easy for people to just jump off the top of a skyscraper and come hurtling down to the pavement below, screaming in terror all the way down, and getting completely pulverized from the immense force of the impact. And I guess that's why so many people do it - because it's easy. People just want everything easy these days... I mean, don't even bother trying to get them to do something really difficult, like avoid getting pushed off the roof of a tall building by a determined homicidal maniac.
- I'll bet that when Noah had to herd all those animals onto the ark, towards the end when things started to get a little hectic, he probably missed a few "same-sex" animal couples because he wouldn't have had time to check the genitalia of every animal that was getting on board. But I guess we'll never know now, will we?
- A Bugatti Veyron sports car does zero to sixty in 2.3 seconds and has a top speed of 253 miles an hour. It also does 253 to zero in just .3 seconds, but the Bugatti guys probably just designed it that way as a form of intentional irony.
- For years, I kept my tacky red lava lamp on literally all the time, just in case I had to protect myself against burglars. So imagine how I felt when one night a burglar showed up, and just like I'd rehearsed it a thousand times, I smashed the lamp — thinking I'd burn him to death with the hot, molten lava. Man, what a gooey, waxy mess that was! I was just lucky the burglar had the same idea about lava lamps that I'd had, because he got pretty scared and ran away when I did that.
- I still don't own any Generals, and now I'm starting to wonder what the hold-up is.
- Magda once told me, "If you don't stop bringing that 300-lb. jackhammer with you everywhere we go, I'm going to want a divorce." Okay, okay! It's not like I'm married to the jackhammer... Seriously, lighten up!
- The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the sword sure does hurt when you try to carry it around in your shirt pocket.
- If you ever became a zombie and half your face got eaten off by the other zombies, that would probably be pretty embarrassing when somebody came along and wanted to put you in their zombie movie. But I'll bet you could just fill the missing parts in with some modeling clay, and then cover it all up with some pancake makeup or something. Good as new!
- Do you remember seeing commercials on TV that tried to explain a statistic by using an analogy that is completely unrelated? Something like, "500,000 people are killed or injured by drunk driving related accidents. That's enough mayonnaise jars to fill three football stadiums." And you think to yourself, "Wow, that's a lot of mayonnaise."
- Wouldn't it be ironic if the writer's strike ended, and they all went back to work and immediately all got Writer's Block?
- Uncle Joe had fought in the war, and knew that the enemy could be anywhere. So one day, when the enemy showed up in his home town, he ran to his house to grab his shotgun, knowing that the squirt guns those kids were wielding could very well be filled with deadly acid.
- Did you ever feel like Heaven? Did you ever fall in love? Did you ever walk on clouds? You did? Well, you're stupid.
- I never really understood the human body. It seems that no matter what you eat, it always turns into brown, mushy goop when it exudes from you. I don't see much application to that method. I mean, how many uses can brown, mushy goop have? I think that whatever you eat should turn into money. That way you can buy stuff with whatever your body doesn't need. Then again, whenever I eat loose change, it doesn't come out as brown, mushy goop, it just comes out as pennies, sometimes larger coins... So maybe we should all just start eating money.
- If Stevie Nicks ruled the Earth, the world would be a much more peaceful place, full of good wishes, colored rainbows, and peaceful clouds of contentment. Also, we'd all be dead.
- Speaking of Uncle Joe, I remember that whenever he'd start talking about the war, he'd get that wild look in his eyes, sort of like a wild animal being hunted by a pack of wolves and not quite knowing whether or not to turn and run, or to stand his ground and attack. Sometimes he'd make that low, guttural growling sound too, as if he was ready to pounce on anyone who came too close, and tear them limb from limb. But after a while he'd calm down, and just mutter to himself for a few minutes, and then maybe doze off. Anyway, I guess we never did figure out which war he was in.
- The nice thing about all these Harry Potter novels is that if you lose one of them, you can always just go into your son's bedroom and steal his copy.
- Fingerprints were found on the outside of the cookie jar, and several of the cookies were missing. Police forensics investigators were called in, evidence was analyzed using state-of-the-art equipment, and numerous potential witnesses were interviewed. After an exhaustive three-month investigation, little Billy was charged with the crime. After an emotional, year-long trial, little Billy was found guilty of having stolen the cookies, and sentenced to ten years in a maximum-security Federal prison. Interviewed later, Billy's parents claimed they were "satisfied" with the verdict: "This proves that the system works," said his mother. "The important thing is that our precious cookies are safe."
The Bottomless Pit of Thoughts...
- Accepting the award for World's Smartest Chimpanzee, Bubbles said, "Eeeegh! Eeegh!" and then proceeded to urinate on the podium. The crowd didn't seem particularly impressed, some going so far as to say, "Why are we giving Bubbles the award this year?" Indeed, the previous year's winner had given a long, well-prepared speech on relative intelligence levels among different primate species, which had later been published in Nature. A bitter controversy ensued, during which it was determined that Bubbles had used profits from his private aerospace engineering firm to bribe several judges. As a result of the scandal, several members of the Awards Committee were asked to step down — but public confidence in the committee's integrity was profoundly shaken.
- You know... if you read "dog" the other way around, it comes out as "god." I'll bet God even didn't think about that when he named himself, or dogs for that matter.
- In a single atom, in one of its tiny quarks, deep, deep, way down, and deeper still, inside the atom is another atom, which is just one minuscule piece of a molecule, which is one of many billions of tiny cells which in turn make up one of your fingernails, which is one of billions of fingernails on Earth, which is one of a gigantic number of celestial bodies - which are all in the single atom we started out with. It's a good idea to remember this, just in case a child asks you where fingernails come from.
- I like to think of myself as a kind of "human chameleon." Not because I can change colors at will in order to blend in with my surroundings, but because I'm small, crawl around a lot, and eat mostly mealworms.
- The only problem I can see with online dating is that there's always the risk that you'll end up going out with me.
- As we stood on the beach in the moonlight, we held each other close, she looked deeply into my eyes, and we kissed. "Love changes everything," she whispered. Come on, get serious - does it change diapers? I don't think so.
- I once had a dream in which I was a bird, flying high up in the sky, looking down on sweeping, majestic vistas, defying gravity, free to go anywhere I chose. Then I woke up, and realized that a bug had crawled into my mouth while I was asleep.
^ 1. Others support the theory that Handey was killed in a fatal car accident and reincarnated as writer Mitch Hedberg, who, in turn, died of an overdose. Proponents of this theory can often be identified by their bumper stickers, which bear slogans such as "LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT INCARNATION OF JACK HANDEY." Many now claim that Chris Stokdyk is the third coming, a claim disputed by Stokdyk, who "would like to go five minutes without dying again."